ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska’s Alcohol Control Board approved measures that would relax alcohol laws during the coronavirus pandemic to soften the financial impact on restaurants and bars.
The board unanimously approved to-go sales of factory-sealed beer and wine from bars and restaurants licensed to sell the beverages with or without food, The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.
The board also voted Wednesday to allow curbside pickup of products from liquor stores and other manufacturers including breweries.
Approval by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy is required before the changes can go into effect.
Board discussion of alcohol delivery by restaurant employees or third-party services did not result in a vote.
Sarah Oates, president of the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association, said she has received numerous calls from the industry and the public asking for action to help relieve the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
For most people, new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The board’s recommendations will not substantially change the financial situation for bars and restaurants closed to customers, but may help some of the businesses break even or avoid additional job losses, Oates said.
Oates said 44 other states have relaxed alcohol laws to help the industry during the pandemic.
Association members are “furious that our state has neglected to take any action whatsoever to help the industry in this regard,” Oates said.
Some board members favored postponing a decision for a week to receive input from Dunleavy, but were eventually swayed by arguments in favor of a vote.
“It is my intent to grant this for the industry now,” board member Sara Erickson said. “I don’t think we need to put it off a week. The crisis is now.”